After writing about the physical concerns of Lyme pregnancy and recovery after birth, I stopped and asked myself what the hardest part of this whole process has been. I was surprised that it had little to do with the physical aspects.
Maybe I’m the only moody, neurotic mess, and other mothers cope well with the stress and worries that come with a chronic condition. I have a feeling that’s not the case, or else you wouldn’t be searching for pregnancy information or even reading this blog for that matter. The idea of becoming pregnant after a long, hard battle with treatment can drive you crazy!
From day one, I was prepared for being physically uncomfortable. Hey, pain is nothing new, right? Chances are, if you’re considering getting pregnant or you are engaging in activities that will get you pregnant, you’re feeling decent. At the very least, you’ve had times in your not too distant past where you were much much sicker. I’m not a doctor, but I can pretty much guarantee that pregnancy will have its ups and downs, but is not going to set you back to day one--that awful time right before you were diagnosed and at your wit’s end.
That said, I was completely ill equipped to handle my emotions both during and after pregnancy. My original fears about being a sick mom who was often times dependent on others for help came true in a hurry.
When I’m having a sick day, does dragging the Pack and Play over to the couch and caring for my baby while lying down make me a bad mom? How about having my husband work an insanely long day only to come home and take care of the baby during the night because I need extra sleep? No, it doesn’t, but the guilt and feelings of inadequacy over not being able to pull my weight eat away at me.
I want to be the mom I’ve always envisioned. The mom that’s always on top of things and brings her baby out all the time to explore the world. The mom that breast feeds. The mom that dances with baby in the living room and rocks her fussy little one back to sleep in the early hours of the morning. Unfortunately, a more realistic description right now is the mom that begs her kid to stop screaming for a minute because her migraine is so bad she can’t focus.
I don’t imagine any of this will be permanent, and as he gets older I will get healthier and stronger. Just be prepared because the first month or so might seem pretty bleak as you learn by trial and error what you’re capable of and what is unrealistic.
I try to keep in mind that a baby has no clue you feel like crap. He will never remember that your house was a mess or know the difference between a solid hour of active play time or a quiet cuddle on the couch. And contrary to what Babies ‘R Us tells us, babies need very few things. They need food, sleep, diaper changes, and they to be loved, held, and kept warm. We don’t use half of the crap we bought for Wyatt, and out of all of the rattles and little toys we received, he prefers to stare at the little man on a canister of Quaker Oats. Go figure.
It really is a simple life if we can train ourselves to see it that way, and parenthood is completely manageable if we keep the right mindset. The hard part is not giving in to the sadness and frustration that occurs on days when we just can't get into gear. All I can say is try to be easy on yourself. You'll end up doing what you can, and that will be enough.
I am a mother and writer with Chronic Lyme, on the road to acceptance and recovery. I was bitten in 1996, diagnosed 2008. I am living proof that it is possible to live meaningfully and have happy, healthy children while battling this terrible disease.